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Bumper crop catches government off guard as onion rots

At least 10-12 lakh tonnes of onions are awaiting buyers in the APMC markets in Nashik district. The reason: the state government ignored repeated warnings about falling rate of onions due to surplus production.

Nashik contributes to at least 70% of the onion production in the state. The surplus stock is rotting due to rainfall and poor storage facility, causing heavy losses to the farmers.

Surplus production in most onion growing states, including Maharashtra, has led to drop in onion prices. According to the data from Lasalgaon APMC, till August 24 this year, the market received 1.6 lakh quintals of onion as against 60,000 quintals during the same period last year. At present, the rate of buying onions at the APMC is Rs 4-7 per kg, depending on the quality and grade. The Lasalgaon APMC sets the trend for onion prices in the country.
The new harvest of onion is set to hit the market in October. Officials from the Lasalgaon APMC market, which gets at least 50% of Nashik’s onion produce, said that the prices have dropped as most onion producing states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have had a bumper crop. However, Maharashtra government didn’t pay attention to the warnings by industry experts and no market intervention was made to stabilize the falling prices.
“Last year, onion farmers got a good price and so the area under cultivation increased, and so did the yield. We had written to the government, seeking intervention, but didn’t get any response,” said Nanasaheb Patil, chairman of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation.

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